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What happens when you are given community service?

There is no doubt that the prospect of standing before a judge during a sentencing hearing can be an intimidating and altogether nerve-wracking experience. That's largely because even though a person has a general idea of what the judge might decide concerning their punishment, they can never be 100 percent certain as to the outcome.

While this is understandable, it's important to remember that most judges are willing to entertain alternatives to incarceration in many situations, including probation and/or community service.

When a person is ordered to perform community service here in Orange County, they will be assigned to a worksite. This assignment will not be random, but rather will take into account such factors as their residence, current work and/or school schedule and physical limitations (if any).

This method of designating a particular worksite for community service hours and, by extension, preventing people from selecting their own worksite, is done to ensure both safety and the proper allocation of credit.

In general, hours logged will be tracked by a Community Service Officer, who will report on a person's overall progress to either their probation officer or the court.

When it comes to earning the necessary amount of hours, it's important to understand that worksite hours are typically reported on a weekly basis, such that it might not be the best idea to complete all of your hours in the days leading up to your court hearing, as the necessary paperwork verifying your completion might not be available.

Furthermore, it's important to understand that extensions in order to complete your community service hours are not easy to secure, and are typically only rewarded in those cases where a person has been ill or disabled for much of their supervision period.

Lastly, it's incredibly important to understand that the failure to complete community service hours will more than likely not be treated lightly by the court and can subject you to a variety of penalties, including imposition of the underlying sentence.

In a future post, we'll examine more about probation violations here in Florida. 

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